The Canon XL1 and XL1S cameras are popular DV acquisition tools. While photographers appreciate these cameras because of their ergonomics and image quality, audio engineers are not as happy with them because of their consumer-grade audio connectors and controls.

This tech note was written for the MixPre, but applies to the MixPre-D as well.

There are several ways to interconnect Sound Devices MixPre or 302 mixers to the XL1S.

Direct Connection

The most direct way, with the least degradation of the audio signal, is by using a cable wired to interface the mixer XLR outputs directly to the camera RCA inputs.** The diagram below illustrates the electrical connection between the balanced line-level output of the MixPre to the consumer line input of the camera.

Note the following:

  • This interconnection is unbalanced, so cable runs should be kept short to minimize interference.
  • The circuit above attenuates the signal by 14 dB, matching the mixer to the nominal level of the consumer-level input of the camera.
  • The output impedance and clip level of the MixPre become 800 ohms with a +8 dBu peak.
  • It is best to provide some strain relief at the camera end to avoid unintentional removal of the connection.

**Note to 302 users, the 302's built-in output attenuation control eliminates the need to wire the cable to attenuate the circuit. The interconnection cable is identical, but without resistors.

Transformer Adapter

Alternative interconnections relying on either Canon's MA100/MA200 shoulder connectors or black box transformer/connector accessories can be used if long cable runs and locking connections are required. By using these adapters the interconnection between mixer and transformer will remain balanced.

Things to note about interconnection with transformer adapters:

  • Canon's MA100 and MA200 only accept mic-level inputs, so an in-line attenuator is required with the MixPre. The 302 and 442 outputs should be set to mic-level output when connecting to these Canon accessories.
  • Transformer adapters do degrade the audio signal by adding measurable distortion and limiting the bandwidth of your audio signal.

Tape Output Connection

Sound Devices mixer's tape output connection is level and impedance matched to consumer audio inputs like the Canon RCA inputs. With the proper cables the interface is direct.

Things to note about using the tape output connection:

  • This interconnection is unbalanced, so cable runs should be kept short to minimize interference.
  • It is best to provide some strain relief at the mixer and camera end to avoid unintentional removal of the connection. Using unlocking connections can be problematic, especially if the camera and/or mixer is moving.

Please contact Sound Devices with questions on this tech note.

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